What not to miss in Music, Books, Games, and more -- We love Wilco's new live album, ''Spartan: Total Warrior,'' and more

By Gary Eng Walk and Michele Romero
October 28, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

CD

KICKING TELEVISION: LIVE IN CHICAGO It’s just as well that Wilco waited this long to put out their first live album — because their current lineup is stellar. These two discs of the band’s hometown show offer many songs from last year’s A Ghost Is Born, plus rarely played gems like ”One by One,” a song featuring Woody Guthrie lyrics that’s one of the set’s highlights. (Out Nov. 15)

SPARTAN: TOTAL WARRIOR (Sega; Xbox/PS2/GameCube; Mature) When in Sparta, do as the Spartans do. And in this swords-and-sandals epic, what the Spartans do is bust open flagons of whupass on invading Romans. The rapid-fire battles offer so many exhaustive, are-you-not-entertained moments that by the final showdown (in the Colosseum, natch), even Russell Crowe will be crying for his mommy. (Out now)

Books

TRICKED Does what a good graphic novel does best: Sucks your brain in on all levels. Alex Robinson’s engrossing story — about six strangers, their rock & roll obsessions, and a tragic, Lennon-esque climax — is more than matched by his artistic skill: heavy black-and-white illos breaking out of standard comics panels in downright cinematic style. Most indie films should be this good. (Out now)

VIDEO GAME ART Are video-games art? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think. As Nic Kelman’s fascinating book reveals with page after page of beautiful illustrations (and an unfortunate smattering of printing errors in the first press run), today’s titles are painstakingly designed to give players a visceral experience. So the faceless Master Chief is a descendant of Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name? Pass the controller — you had us at Halo. (Out now)

DVD & Book

HEARING VOICES After 21 years, fuzz-pop pioneers Guided by Voices have called it quits — but two releases are already letting you relive their inebriated glory. The Electrifying Conclusion (out Nov. 15) captures GBV’s final gig in Chicago with an endless set list and blissfully tipsy banter, while authorized bio Guided by Voices: A Brief History (out Nov. 7) boasts a witty preface from director/fan Steven Soderbergh. The band may be over, but the dream is alive and well…and drunk.

Game

SSX ON TOUR (EA Games; PS2/PSP/Xbox/GameCube; E10) Eye-boggling courses and aggro racing modes make the latest edition of this snowboarding/skiing franchise a solid bet. But it’s the sharp music (Bloc Party, Louis XIV) and scruffy, skater-inspired animation that make this SSX more than just another downhill title. (Out now)

DVD

GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN, ALICE COOPER Remember when the most decadent thing around was a guy in torn long johns and leopard-skin boots fondling nude mannequins and pretending to have his head guillotined off? No, you probably don’t, which makes this ’73 concert by the original Marilyn Manson a second-look-worthy cultural document. As for the moronic subplot involving a ”German director” chasing the band — stick with footage of ”No More Mr. Nice Guy,” ”Eighteen,” and Cooper’s other great glam-metal snarls. (Out Nov. 8)

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